This June, three female track runners from Connecticut decided to voice their concerns about the transgender athlete policy. The policy allowed transgender athletes to participate on the team they identified as. The three girls filed a federal complaint because they believed the policy violated Title IX which allows everyone to have equal opportunities regardless of sex. This situation came about because two transgender women, Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood, joined the female track team. The girls believe that it is unjust to have biological males on a female track team because men have an unfair physical advantage. As said by Selina Soule, one of the female track members, “Eventually, it’s going to get to the point where biological females will be on the sidelines.” Therefore, transgender athletes should not be able to compete on a team based on their identity.
What’s The Science Behind It?
It has been proven that men are physically stronger than women because they carry more muscle. According to Livestrong, a woman’s body is made of 30 to 35 percent of muscle while a man has about 40 to 50 percent muscle. Not only that, but women’s muscles are mostly made up of a different type of muscle fiber. These “slow-twitch muscle fibers” can sustain force for a longer period of time but produce less force overall. Thus, men will probably have more absolute strength than women. These facts clearly show that men have a bigger advantage in sports than women do. So how is it fair to have biological males competing against biological women? Spoiler alert- it’s not.
Allowing Transgender Athletes Is Unfair
Selina’s mother phrases it perfectly herself: “It’s taking away the opportunity to win for the girls.” As we know, men’s body structures and physique are much more different than a woman’s. Because they are stronger, Miller and Yearwood dominate the girls track team, consistently winning first and second place. The biologically female athletes are frustrated and heartbroken during every race because they know they won’t win. These transgender athletes are taking away qualifying spots from these girls and it’s not fair. For example, Selina did not make it to the championship because she was overtaken by the two trans athletes.
Yearwood and Miller try to counter this argument by saying they’ve been undergoing hormone therapy. Even though this changes some muscle to fat, it doesn’t change their body structure, and the effects are different for everybody.
The mother of the trans athletes adds that her children’s well-being is more important “than just winning a medal.” While she is correct about wanting to make her children happy, “just winning a medal” means a lot when girls are constantly being looked at by colleges for recruitment and scholarships. By having these trans athletes on the team, the rest of the girls are taken out of a potential recruitment spot.
Allowing transgender athletes on a team can even be dangerous. It may not be apparent in a non-contact sport like track and field, but in sports like soccer and field hockey, severe injuries may occur.
A Possible Solution
This problem, although sensitive, can be potentially fixed. Schools can create teams specifically for transgender boys and girls. This way they won’t be excluded from high school sports, and the competition will be fair.
Some potential issues with creating a new trans team is that there might not be enough students to participate in these leagues. This problem could be fixed if certain schools in a district merged to create one team big enough to compete. Another issue is that these teams could receive backlash from students who could be trans-phobic. While there is no certain way to change how students feel towards trans athletes, schools can spread awareness and show support for LGBTQ+ people in their community and building.
In conclusion, transgender athletes should not be able to compete on the sports team based on their gender identity, especially on girls’ teams. Doing this not only leaves biological females at a physical disadvantage, but also takes away many opportunities for them in college. However, this doesn’t mean that transgender athletes should be excluded. Instead, we can only hope that in the future Connecticut will resolve this issue and create teams for trans kids to compete in.
[Image Attribute: Sasin Tipchai]